A decade-long experience in radically unconventional monetary policy is over in America, and the global economy is moving into high gear. The Great Recession ended 103 months ago but memories linger. Some professional and individual investors are still looking back at it in the rearview mirror with a sense of unease.

Since the second quarter of 2009, financial asset prices have soared like eagles while activity in the real economy has crawled back to life like a snail. This contrast between Wall Street and Main Street is universal, sparking a surge in global populism. Meanwhile, many among the elite have been convinced that stocks and bonds have been artificially inflated by deflation-obsessed central banks around the world.

Circumstances are changing, but they still aren’t normalizing by any historical standards. It’s hard to find another moment in history when the Federal Reserve has been raising rates and winding down its balance sheet while the federal government is initiating a major fiscal stimulus.

Even if most people feel a long way from euphoria, economic evidence finally points to a level of activity that justifies strong equity prices. The question now is whether current levels are sustainable in the face of rising interest rates.

Business activity appears to be accelerating after the U.S. economy posted two consecutive quarters of GDP growth of 3% or better. The last time this happened was in 2014, when the economy added almost 3 million jobs and witnessed two quarters of GDP gains exceeding 4%.

Profit growth is the best in six years. That, coupled with the anticipation of corporate tax cuts, is why Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist of Federated Investors, raised his estimates of next year’s S&P 500 earnings from $140 to $150. (He also raised his 2019 estimate from $150 to $160. )

There is little question that the election of President Trump breathed new life into a market that was just regaining its legs in 2016, almost a year after the 2015 profits recession ended. Immediately following last year’s election, however, many expected the new president’s nationalist agenda focused on rebuilding old-economy industries like steel and coal to drive value stocks.

Things aren’t playing out precisely to script. Some industrial manufacturers have indeed performed well, but market leadership remains concentrated in growth sectors, particularly technology. In recent years, the S&P 500 has come to resemble a technology ETF, according to Jeff Kleintop, chief global investment strategist at Charles Schwab, and most successful active money managers have overweighted the group. Technology may be a key driver of U.S. stocks, but any advisor who lived through the 2000-2008 era can remember it is also highly cyclical.

Abroad it’s a different set of priorities. Keenly aware of America’s dominance in technology, other nations playing catch-up are looking to emphasize artificial intelligence, quantum computing and robotics.

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